New Screenwriter Hired for Max Brooks' World War Z Movie

July 16, 2009
Source: Fangoria

World War Z

Now this is a bit strange. Fangoria reports today that the World War Z adaptation in the works over at Paramount is being revised by a different screenwriter. Originally, it was J. Michael Straczynski who had been adapting Max Brooks' book, but now it's Matthew Michael Carnahan, a "specialist in political thrillers" whose past credits include State of Play and The Kingdom. “He’s one of Hollywood's hot A-list writers, so if they went after him and paid him a mountain of gold, it definitely shows their confidence in this project,” Brooks said. We know Marc Forster is directing, but we didn't know there were problems with the script?

Brooks adds: “They say it’s a positive move because they’re very excited, but the truth is, it’s also positive because they just paid him a buttload of money, and [with] the money they paid him, the money they paid Straczynski and they money they’ve paid me, they’ve really dug themselves a deep hole, so they better make this thing!" I'm right there with him - they better make this thing! There seems to be something going on behind-the-scenes here - because when we reported that Forster was attached to direct last year, they were preparing to start production this year. So what happened? Why do they need an entirely new writer?

Straczynski has openly talked about his script quite a bit, with this update in December being the most recent. From the way he describes his version of Max Brooks' book, it sounds like it will be a very political movie that involves the government, which might explain why Matthew Michael Carnahan is actually good fit for this. I'm still curious to see if there is more to this story than we're hearing. We'll keep you updated on the development of World War Z, a project I am still very much looking forward to one day seeing.

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i have heard bad things like the director wanted more action

nelson on Jul 16, 2009


Its a bad thing the director wanted more action?? I mean I know its based on a book but no one reads a book for action they go see a movie end of story. I hope it includes action and some kinda comedy to make it interesting for everyone to see

zach on Jul 16, 2009


the book reads like a documentary think think of the first district 9 trailer

nelson on Jul 16, 2009


i read the book, the book was good and does read like a documentary, but there are some action parts in there. i just hope they dont stray too far from the book. it really shows what would happen if the dead where to come back to life.

gerber on Jul 16, 2009


Well that kinda ruins my hopes didnt even know it was based off a book, But I was hoping it would just a flick about zombies vs man...just all out zombie killing action looks like I was wrong.

Cody on Jul 16, 2009


The book is a documentary. Think District 9 and Diary of the Dead, only not stupid first person camera. As far as a politically goes, idk about that. Ugh. I reading the follow up now to it and it reads rather well for something that I thought would be funny. It's funny in an ironic satire kind of way which is awesome. I have high hopes for this! Can't wait!!!

Tra la la la la di da on Jul 16, 2009


I want this movie to get going! GOSH

-Peter- on Jul 16, 2009


The book is sweet. The movie will be supplemental and have no effect on my enjoyment of the book.

whomever on Jul 16, 2009


FUCK I have such overwhelmingly high expectations for this film, that this news is very bad. Any problems like this plaguing the project, mean bad things. Brooks' read J. Michael Straczynski's screenplay and gave it his stamp of approval. AND I QUOTE: "I can’t give it away, but Straczynski found a way to tie it all together. The last draft I read was amazing." -Max Brooks Why do the studios always have to fuck everything up? Why do directors have to have everything their way, and take source material and fuck it up. I'm probably being a huge hypocrite here as I usually tell fanboys to go stuff it. But when the man himself, Max Brooks, an amateur screenwriter himself, approves of a screenplay, and then they go and get someone else to write another one...I mean I have to question what the hell is going through the minds of the people making this movie. You did say "revising" Alex, so I hope this means just some minor edits to make it more interesting, and not a total scrap of the original, and a re-write.

jman571 on Jul 16, 2009


Anyone who expects this to be a zombie movie all about killing the dead and gore and violence will be sorely disappointed and if you want it to be you have no right to view it. It was never meant to be just a run and gun book so why make a movie like that? The book was based upon the struggles of Man as a whole dealing with a global disaster it wasn't prepared for or refused to prepare for that disaster just happened to be zombies. Zombie movies are my all time favorite genre and that's why i wanted to read WWZ but as i got further and further into the book I realized that if done correctly this could be a stereotype breaking movie because the book was so perfect. It wasn't just a hey look a zombie quickly run get away sort of thing it was a realistic view of what would happen. I have such high hopes for this movie and honestly from the original script reviews i was set to call this movie a cinema classic in the making but with all the delays Marc Forster at the helm and a new writer I'm just not so sure. I don't know maybe it's just me but in the book I read parts that were extremely funny, some were terrifying, and some left me in absolute amazement. I was in complete awe and couldn't put it down. I've never been one of those people to say "Well the book was much better" (well I'm not a fan of reading all that much anyway but i digress) so don't make me have to start please this is the only movie I'm looking forward to. I just want it to be half as good with the same political, scary, awesome edge the book has. Anyway I'm just hoping in the end it lives up to the standards the book set but knowing Hollywood it most likely won't Maybe Oscar gold for the first time in the genre? Who knows? I guess we all just have to wait.....

Ryan on Jul 16, 2009


By the way I assume the new writer is to dumb down the script to appeal to a bigger audience. What a shame. Don't write just for the dumb (60% of the population that may be a small figure) write something memorable please for those of us with at least moderate intelligence who enjoy a movie that makes you think.

Ryan on Jul 16, 2009


Not be noted at all by anyone anywhere is that Straczynski, with the last month, has commented on the situation and is totally, surprisingly cool with it. He says it not remotely a big deal, and I reckon he would know.

Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Jul 16, 2009


well i don't like this at all lets set some fucking fires and riot! i have the original scripts if anyone wants them Email me at

DoomCanoe on Jul 16, 2009


I watched The Kingdom a few times and it's just a great movie, so I'm confident in the new screenwriter.

Robbie on Jul 17, 2009


I'm about done with the novel and I swear they better not fuck it up. It could well be one of the best if not the best Zombie movie ever, or at least to date and it will have good company with Night of the Living Dead & Dawn of the Dead Remakes, 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later.

Johnny Neat on Jul 17, 2009


I wouldnt say having the new screenwriter is a bad thing, in fact, i think its a plus! yes, wwz is packed with action, terror, and gore, but the book also captures that realism of how world govts would collapse in such scenarios. Anybody remember the Redecker Plan? Or the isreali self-quarantine? I for one would love! to see how all that goes down. I have total confidence in the project, and who knows, maybe this will give that little push for the first ever zombie flick for best pic...

toucmyinfection on Jul 17, 2009


@ 12 Thanks for clarifying how this whole "rewrite" thing works. But I still don't like all these buzzwords. I don't see World War Z as a "political thriller" or a "zombie action movie". If I had it my way it would play as a horror drama. Though I agree, it's hard to make people take zombies seriously, thus the humour. But I for one found nothing funny about World War Z. It's hardly funny, it's as serious as one can be about zombies.

jman571 on Jul 17, 2009


I hate it when people complain about a movie being too intellectual and not having enough action. If you really want to see some brainless action bulls@!*, just go and see Transformers 2 or some crap like that. Besides, we already have a more action-oriented zombie movie coming up. It's called Zombieland, or did you all miss that. #10 Ryan, I agree with you entirely. The whole substance of the book was more about the different perspectives culled from survivors in different parts of the globe, at different levels of society. And it was so full of references to the sort of government cover-ups and lack of competency of the ruling class to handle large scale emergencies. The fact that the global disaster was a zombie outbreak was more of a medium for political satire. Some people may find it laughable to take a book like this seriously, but it's sort of a wake-up call. When something this bad happens, relying on the government for protection is an unrealistic option. If this movie turns out to revolve around zombie violence/gore, they will have missed the entire point.

JL on Jul 18, 2009


i loved the book i read again recently while in afghan. it kinda scary because the realistic aspect of it all the movie with make it all so much realer.

soviet nick kill on Aug 2, 2009


fuck yah lets get some yonkers bitch

soviet nick kill on Aug 2, 2009


While the political chapters of World War Z were some of the most important to understanding the gavernmental struggle durring the war, they were also some of the most boring parts of the book. I expect this movie (if and when its made) to have a political aspect, but I'd like it to focus on the survivors mainly. The book after all is about the survivors ocastionally broken up by political affairs, I want this movie to be a nice blend of both action and politics. Personally, I think they should have kept J. Michael Straczynski on as at least a co-writter with Matthew Michael Carnahan working on the project as well. Here's hoping this change won't completely botch the movie.

V. Mac on Sep 2, 2009


has anyone read the zombie survival guide by ,max btrokkers one word AWESOME sdo i think a movbie of world war z would be even better then everyone on joining blckk.

BLCKK on Sep 15, 2009


the boat engine make noise mother fucker fuck yeah max brookes one word 1337 dosent get much better then him he obivously bleives zombies are real which makes for kickass books which should make for a kickass movie one more thing i love sydney lin wallace

BLCKK on Sep 15, 2009

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